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INDIAN CASTE.                                                    409
relegated to the indeterminate. And.further, if the Yaisyas had ever formed
one united body, they would inevitably, at some period or another, have taken
a more prominent part in Indian politics then there is reason to suppose they
ever did. Investiture with the symbolic cord gave them social position, and the
wealth which their occupation enabled them to amass gave them power. Union
apparently was the only condition required to make them the predominant body
in the State. With far humbler pretensions and less internal cohesion than Manu
assigns to the Vaisyas, the free cities of Germany and the burghers of England
established their independence against an aristocracy and an ecclesiastical system
in comparison with which Kshatriyas and Brahmans were contemptible,
The obvious, and indeed inevitable, inference from this popular ignorance,
literary silence, and historical insignificance appears to be that the two classes
of Vaisya and Sudra never existed (except in Manu's theory) as distinct bodies ;
and that the names are merely convenient abstractions to denote the middle
and lower orders of society, which have indeed distinctive class features engen-
dered by similarity of occupation, but no community of origin, and in reality no
closer blood connection between the component sub-divisions than exists between
any one of these sub-divisions and a Brahmanical or Kshatriya family.
In the whole of the Rig Veda the word Vaisya occurs only once, vi$.} in the
12th verse of the famous Purusha Siikta. Dr. Muir, Professor Max Muller, and
in fact all Sanskrit scholars, with the solitary exception of Dr. Haug, assign
this hymn to a comparatively late period. It is the only one which mentions
the four different kinds of Vedic composition, rick, sdman, chkandcij and yajusk,
a peculiarity noticed by Professor Aufrecht, and which seems to be absolutely
conclusive proof of late composition. And not only is the hymn itself more re-
cent than the body of the work, but the two verses which alone refer to the four
castes seem to be a still more modem interpolation.' In the first plaoe^ there is
aothing the least archaic in their-style, and they might stand in any one of the
Puranaa without exciting a comment. That this may be apparent they are
quoted in the original :
Brahmano' gja mmfcham isid, bahu Bijanyah kritah,
Urn tad asya yad Vaisyah, padbhyam Sudro ajayata.*
Secondly, they are irreconcilable with the context ; for while they describe
the Brahman as the mouth of Purusha and the Sudra as born from his feet, the
very next lines speak of Indra and Agni as proceeding from his month and the
Earth from his feet.
*" The Brahman was his mouth : the Rajanaya was made his arms ;  what ig the Yaisya.
Was bis thighs ; from his feet sprung the Stidra."